PORTLAND, Ore — Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler survived withering criticism from activists and President Trump over his handling of the protests in Portland over the summer.
In the end, he proved able to bounce back and beat his opponent, urban policy consultant and self-described antifa member Sarah Iannarone.
“With all of the issues we're currently facing, I think the public said they supported me. They have confidence in me. They had confidence in my leadership, they had confidence in my experience and they want a mayor to stick around for a second term and see this hard work through,” Wheeler said Wednesday afternoon.
Iannarone had no comment on Wednesday.
Wheeler won by more than 19,000 votes and in an unusual development, write-in candidates gained 45,000 votes. Activist Teressa Raiford and conservative Joseph Whitcomb both ran write-in campaigns.
“When I saw those numbers this morning, like I said, it was astounding,” said Raiford Wednesday morning.
But she did not think votes for her took away votes from Iannarone.
“I think the people that voted for Ted actually helped Ted win the election. I don't think that anyone that voted for me would have actually voted for Sarah Iannarone. We have different values,” Raiford said.
We'll never know exactly how many votes either write-in candidate got because the elections office only counts the names on write-in ballots if there is a chance the write-in could actually win.
Wheeler begins next year with the city's most diverse city council ever.
It includes Latinx woman, Carmen Rubio; African American Mingus Mapps; a gay man, Dan Ryan; and Jo Ann Hardesty-- the first black woman elected to the Portland City Council.
Wheeler is the first two-term mayor in Portland in the last 16 years. He said he is ready.
“I think it’s going to be great. Starting in January, it’s gonna be one of the strongest city councils, I believe, that has ever been empaneled in the city of Portland,” Wheeler said.